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Why don't the Spanish go on holiday ?

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 18th Mar 2011

If you are waiting for the punch line you're going to be disappointed.

I'm serious - I think I have found one of the main reasons that the Spanish never seem to go away for a holiday...

In the 7 years that I've been living here in Sunny Spain I've only ever had one holiday, and that was a week a week in the Dominican Republic, which I was fortunate enough to win in a competition at work.

Gloat over.

However, if it wasn't for the fact that it was handed to me on a plate, I doubt I would ever have got round to booking a holiday.

And I will punch the next Brit that tells me that expats who live in Spain don't need a holiday! Yep, that's right - because it's always sunny here in Spain and we all spend every hour of every day lazing on the beach, don't we ?

Any expat will know that a trip back to the UK doesn't count as a holiday. Somehow sat by the canal on a Friday night eating fish and chips in the rain on the costa-del-calderdale, just doesn't quite compare to drinking margarita's on the beach somewhere in the Bahamas.

Trips back to the UK are fine, but by the time you've done the obligatory shopping trips and seeing the scores of relatives etc... there is next to no time to actually relax and enjoy yourself.

So aside from the highly stressful and disastrous Dominican trip (which I promise to bore you with another time) we haven't had a holiday in over 7 years.

So, following a freezing cold, boring and miserable christmas period ( Read my Expat Christmas Diary Here ) we decided to save on the heating bills and look into going on holiday over christmas this year. The Mrs works in the tourist industry, so time off over summer is bit of a no-go (and why would we want to go away in the height of Fiesta season in Spain ?), so with school holidays etc... christmas is really the best and only time we can look into.

Going away for christmas also means that we have the perfect excuse for not going back to the UK.

So we started early at researching various offers. There are NO holiday search engines here in Spain. Why indeed would anybody wish to book a holiday online ? As far as 60% of Spaniards are concerned it is still 1984 and computers are for playing games on and nothing else.

Teletext was a favourite in UK in the '80's and 90's, but seems to have totally passed Spain by, so the logical thing (Bizarrely) seemed to be to fly to the UK first and then on to wherever else.

And recent airport strikes, Volcano's and snow meant that we would really need to add 24 hours leeway on top of any transfer flights into the UK to allow for any delays. So 14 days becomes 16 days....

Sorry, what was that you said ? - " Why not Just book from a Spanish travel agent ?"

- Ok, we did just that earlier today. We walked into a high street travel agents and told them that we would be looking for a holiday in the Caribbean over the christmas period for (possibly) 9 people. A not insignificant amount of money for a travel agent in these austere times you may think.

The Agent took down our details and proceeded to show us a number of hotels that fit the bill perfectly. 40 minutes into proceedings they casually mentioned that we could book the holiday any time we liked up to and including the next 8 weeks - which took us just past Easter.

We reminded the Agent that we were looking to go away at Christmas. "So book closer to Christmas" he replied with a puzzled expression on his face, as though we were wasting his time.(I should have known by now that Spaniards rarely plan anything, so booking holiday that far in advance was just mental - even though most travel agents in the Uk are already taking bookings for christmas NEXT year!)

Once again I walked out of a Spanish business with a Pot of cash burning a hole in my pocket. Austerity is myth - Business and commerce in Spain must be doing so well that us consumers have a hard time convincing people to take our cash !

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